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Echoes and Mirrors » snark

Archive for the ‘snark’ Category

Nicotine, You Bastard.

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Well, I quit. Two weeks ago. Okay, I’m shy of two weeks by a couple of hours or so.

And I mean quit like I am making a genuine, concerted effort this time, rather than my usual “I’m quitting, so I’ll only smoke x cigarettes today, and x-1 tomorrow, etc.” or simply not smoking for half a day. This is also my first cold-turkey attempt probably ever except for basic training, which wasn’t exactly voluntary. I’ve always attempted to wean myself off cigarettes with nicotine gum or dip.

Once, or twice, I tried Zyban. Those attempts were not only unsuccessful, but I found out how poorly Zyban and alcohol interact in my brain. The details are unimportant, but I won’t take an anti-depressant to quit smoking again. Several friends have tried Chantix, often with disastrous results. One exception is my father, who claims it worked amazingly well for him and he hasn’t smoked in years now despite my mother continuing to.

Still, I’m not tempted to try it or Zyban again. I haven’t been drinking since I quit smoking, as it’s probably one of my biggest triggers. Bigger than eating or coffee. I’ve upped my caffeine intake considerably, particularly coffee, in fact. Yes, the first few sips makes me crave a smoke, but it’s okay.

Fact is, I’ve never felt this good about not smoking before. I’m attributing it to the other major lifestyle change I’ve made, which is going on early morning runs. Before I quit, I would be winded after a half mile. This morning, I ran four miles and finished with fuel left in the tank. Of course, getting up to run at six in the morning requires that I not be a night owl anymore. And that has led to much more normalized eating habits.

It’s all really disquieting, this shift into being a morning person with ‘normal’ eating habits who sleeps eight hours a night. But I also suspect it’s the only thing keeping me sane over a long, empty summer. I always stayed enrolled full-time over the summers in undergrad so I’m not used to having nothing to do.

I haven’t managed to write one damn word of fiction since I quit smoking, which was what I intended to do with my entire summer. I was doing well at it, too. During the first couple days of abstaining from nicotine, my laptop did something that annoyed me. I don’t recall what it was but it was enough to trigger a tantrum. The result was that my laptop’s harddrive was no longer functional and everything I had written or worked on all summer was now lost. (I am managing to recover some of it — the genuinely important things, in fact — from the internet (from saved email drafts, etc); I’m tempted to look for a decent internet/cloud back up service now.)

My reading habits have gone all wonky as well. I haven’t managed to finish even one, where normally I would be finishing one every other day. I just can’t focus long enough to read more than a page or two before (literally) wandering away from the book. I’m honestly not sure where my time is going. It’s the middle of the afternoon right now: I know I ran from 6-7am, showered, made breakfast, ate and then… I had lunch at noon. And I’ve spent three hours typing this (not editing or revising, but just typing a first draft, mind you). I just can’t seem to manage my time around goals. It used to be that I could set a goal (say, read two chapters or X pages or one hour) and once accomplished, I’d get a smokey treat. Somehow, my time management was so utterly dependent on this reward system that I’m completely non-functional without it.

So, the upside is that I’ll be running half-marathons in a month or two but the downside is that I can’t focus long enough to perform simple tasks like reading or writing.

Yesterday’s post on Wittgenstein/Nietzsche/Cavell/etc. was the first thing I’d written in almost two weeks. This is the second. And it’s not going so well on that front.

I’m wondering if the negatives of smoking –a shortened lifespan, increased risk of cancers, lung disease(s), etc. — are worth the ability to actually do (efficiently) the things that I love to do? The $150-200 I save a month (yes, they cost that much if you smoke like I did) is nice, but does it make up for not being able to, well, do anything because I can’t focus?

This does end, right? I did quit for a few months once (basic training and a little after) but my life was so heavily regimented and prescribed that it didn’t matter: I wasn’t thinking or managing my own time, anyway.

I’m so lost without you, cigarettes.


I’ve been slack haven’t I? Oh bother.

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Yes, yes, I know that nobody reads my drivel anyway, but I still feel sort of bad about not having posted anything since mid-December (is that right? I didn’t even look to see when my last real post was.). I’ve been awfully busy with schoolwork. With luck I’ll actually manage to keep some kind of schedule for posting again. I need to start taking notes of shit I’d like to rant about. It’ll be rad if I can manage that. My coursework is a little lighter than it was last semester. It’s still pretty heavy though.

In the mean time, I’ll just drop off a couple things I’ve found really interesting. Well, I had more things to talk about — Wisconsin, in particular — but I sort of got frustrated with it and gave up. There’s revolution going on everywhere but here. We need some good old-fashioned late-90’s Seattle anarchist-style protests. People smashing up a Starbucks or something, you know? I digress.

This is pretty rad. I think I’m actually going to buy it. Because I’m not nerdy enough, as it is.

There is a flash doohicky of the LROC WAC mosaic of the lunar nearside. It’s like google-maps satellite view for the moon. M-O-O-N that spells fucking awesome. Yeah, so it’s just a ball of rock that creates tides, looks pretty in the sky, avoids attempts to be lassoed, was once confused with a god, and shelters moon-men who plot to take over once we’ve killed ourselves off one day, but it’s still pretty awesome. The moon doesn’t get enough credit for causing lunacy anymore, in my opinion.

I might be alone in this, but Charlie Sheen is my fucking hero. Now, I don’t have predilections towards mountains of cocaine and hookers per se, but I’ll be damned if that lifestyle doesn’t have at least a slight bit of appeal. I’m a bit envious, honestly. I know a lot of people are giving him a lot of flack for his recent shenanigans but that’s just kinda sad, really. He says, “I’m winning” and I look at it and say, “yup.” Why? He’s doing shit we all wish we could and being unapologetic for it. I’m not saying he’s doing the specific things we want to do, but he’s doing what he wants to do and not backing down. So when he called into the Alex Jones radio program and ranted for 18 minutes, it was pure gold. He does not give a flying fuck what we think. Which is sort of admirable. Oh, and don’t do cocaine. It makes you all wacky. If you don’t believe me, follow the link and listen.

The revolutions in the middle-east are going well I guess. I’m sort of interested in seeing how it all pans out. The US’s involvement and interests can only muck things up, but hopefully our el presidente has a decent head on his shoulders and won’t send the CIA in to work their nastiness. It’s never really seemed to work out for us. That whole Taliban thing sure bit us in the ass. So did a few others, I guess. These revolutions and their decision to be democratic could possible end with them simply choosing a new dictator, but I’d like to believe that wouldn’t happen. And just because a certain cretin will be favorable to us in the short-run doesn’t mean we need to help them into power. If we do something like that again, I think Canada should wait until we revolt and install a leader of their choosing into the position of US President. Maybe then we can get some decent hockey coverage on broadcast television.

I have no comment on the Wisconsin Teacher’s union business. I’m a product of Wisconsin’s public education system and it was top-notch while I attended school there (for a public system, it’s fantastic).

Or maybe I’m not seriously paying attention anymore. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m starting to believe that anybody with any gravitas or voice in the media is simply trolling us now. Nobody can seriously believe half the stuff said on television. It’s just not possible. Bill O’Reilly is a prime example: he’s just fucking with us. Plain and simple. Or maybe not, at which point, I’ll go back to my book and pretend not to care some more.


Holographic Bullshit is Always Possible

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Wired.com, in an apparent bid for worst science article headline, put this up: Holographic Telecommuting May Soon Be Possible

Which, if by ‘soon’ you mean decades from now, then sure. The accompanying article is mostly blah blah blah about how the projector works (which is actually kind of neat) but says flat out that it cannot do the 30 fps that is needed for quality. Instead it does one frame every two seconds. That just doesn’t match the headline but the real pièce de résistance is the very first (sorta) paragraph:

A new holographic display can transmit three-dimensional movies from one location to another almost in real time. If Princess Leia had to send her “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope” message from Earth today, it would now be technologically possible.

Oh really? Well, look at the video of what they have developed:

And then compare it to R2D2 projecting the sexy, sexy Leia Organa in her plea for the former Jedi Master’s assistance:

Seriously, that’s just bullshit. The scientists get a pass on this one, but you science reporters (Lisa Grossman now represents all science reporters for the simplicity of me being snide) are now also ruining my expectations of the future by promising awesome technologies during my lifetime that I won’t see. Either go back to reporting on high school baseball games, or report this stuff without the fantastic hyperbole to inspire hope just to dash it by the end of the article (doing that is fine when reporting on sports, though).


Somewhat Disturbing Numbers

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

I snagged that from here, courtesy of the Libertarian Party. And the dramatic upswing in “likes” on Facebook is, well, a very good thing for the LP. Facebook seems to be this weird indicator of public opinion. People either click like on things because they genuinely like it or because it’s ridiculous and amusing. For something like a political party it would conceivably be the latter.

But look just below that. That is fucking disturbing and telling. I’m going to bet dollars to doughnuts that the immigration controversy has fueled those numbers. And my fellow ‘mericuns, y’all are on the wrong side. Also, while the number of LP fans have risen one of the best outlets of libertarian news and analysis, Reason Magazine, hasn’t. Ron Paul gained nearly as many as the LP did (30k).

Sometimes, America, I secretly hate you for not caring about yourselves. I’m like the angry father on a really great episode of Intervention, mad that you won’t listen to reason or stop hurting yourself.

Libertarian Party facebook page


Engineers, You Can Join The Scientists In the “People That Make Me Hate The Future”

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Cars with wings may be just around the corner:

WASHINGTON (AP) — If cars had wings, they could fly – and that just might happen, beginning next year. The company Terrafugia, based in Woburn, Mass., says it plans to deliver its car-plane, the Transition, to customers by the end of 2011. It recently cleared a major hurdle when the Federal Aviation Administration granted a special weight limit exemption to the Transition.

“It’s the next ‘wow’ vehicle,” said Terrafugia vice president Richard Gersh. “Anybody can buy a Ferrari, but as we say, Ferraris don’t fly.”

The Transition is a long way from cartoon dad George Jetson’s flying car zooming above traffic, or even the magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

“There is no launch button on the (instrument) panel,” Gersh noted.

Rather, the car-plane has wings that unfold for flying – a process the company says takes one minute – and fold back up for driving. A runway is still required to takeoff and land.

The Transition is being marketed more as a plane that drives than a car that flies, although it is both. The company has been working with FAA to meet aircraft regulations, and with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to meet vehicle safety regulations.

Seriously, it’s 2010 and they can’t even get flying cars right. What the hell is the problem here, people? I’ve been waiting 27 years for a goddamn flying car and what you’re delivering is a butt-ugly plane that can also operate as a car. The exact opposite of what we want. You can join NASA in the corner and don’t forget to put your dunce’s cap on. I mean, shit, look at this monstrosity:

Is it so much to ask scientists and engineers to actually come up and develope legitimately awesome things? It’s bad enough that scientists killed time travel and many other neat things, but engineers are now out to destroy the awesome technologies of the future, too.


Dear Peasants: Fuck Off

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

BP chair: Sorry for ‘small people’ remark on Gulf – Yahoo! News.

VENICE, La. – BP’s chairman has apologized for saying the company cares about the “small people” of the Gulf Coast hit by the oil disaster — a comment met with anger by those who say they are tired of the company’s executives making insensitive remarks.

On Wednesday, Carl-Henric Svanberg told reporters in Washington: “I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don‘t care, but that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people.” He later said he was sorry for speaking “clumsily.”

One of the distinctions Americans are unwilling to make is that of class. Equality knows no class boundaries. Well, not openly, anyway. Everyone knows that poor people don’t beat felony charges, while the rich can. That rich ugly people still get to fuck whomever they like and don’t have to deal with depression or stress. Rich folks have more elegant drug addictions and can bounce back and forth from recovery centers with glee.

So, peasants, just go back about your business of worrying about food on the table, watching reality television (but not making reality television), having sex with other poor, ugly people and doing your low-class drugs like meth.

However, he probably meant “little guy” as in “looking out for the little guy.” Which would have not been a faux pas, and would have endeared him to said peasants. Either way, I think theres a whole bunch of people out there that just need to man up.


The “Cougar Cruise” fails to satisfy, and this actually surprised someone

Monday, June 7th, 2010

What really happens aboard a ‘cougar cruise’? – USATODAY.com.

Plain-spoken Jersey guy Chris Alberts, 31, just out of a four-year relationship, is “here to hook up. Period. And I don’t want to hear any of this, ‘I’ve never done this before’ B.S., either.”

That’s beautiful. And If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard it, I could go get myself a pack of smokes.

By Day 6, one contingent of cougars has declared the bulk of the cub set “lacking in maturity.” At dinner that night Jersey guy Alberts declares, “This little cougar thing is B.S. (It was) 25 guys hitting on (a few) women.”

“Especially when (the cubs) are drunk,” counters Hughes, rolling her eyes.

“But it was definitely a good time,” Alberts adds.

“Yeah,” Hughes says, a tad wistfully. “I had a blast.”

Others apparently did, too. In a post-cruise e-mail, one attendee writes of bumping into a cub on the way home, “who filled me in on some gossip. OMG!!!! There were some wild women on the trip, and as I suspected, the guys were comparing notes.”

So what is the net effect of purposely sticking younger guys on a cruise with older women? Nothing. A few of the women really went wild and the guys who would probably have gotten laid anyway got laid. And those who wouldn’t have, didn’t. I still suspect the entire cruise is stacked in the guys’ favor, but only for those who wouldn’t have much problems anyway (even if they don’t apply themselves very often).

In case you’ve somehow escaped this overused sobriquet, “cougar” refers to a woman who prefers younger men. (The male equivalent would be called a “man.”)

I stick with “cougars” being “hot, older women” specifically. Otherwise they’re just old broads. Which is probably why there were issues with the participants of this “cougar cruise” that lacked real “cougars” and had too many “old broads.”

They didn’t attempt to fix the ratio of men to women (which turned out to be more men than women). And apparently, there weren’t enough “Demis” or “Ashtons” aboard either. So, natural forces took over and some people still failed. So the normal ratios of fatties and uglies were probably there.

I’m not even sure how one could stack the odds or manipulate the groupings to ensure 100% matching. Some people are simply not meant to procreate without the assistance of money. Either by being rich and having high dating-market value, or by direct payment for services rendered.


I got yer distopian future right here, ya jerks.

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

I have pretty much lost all hope of trying to highlight the fact that things are getting worse. It’s simply become so pervasive and so common place.  People I talk to seem think one of a few things:

  • I have a tin-foil hat hidden somewhere out of sight.
  • The current status quo is ‘fine’ because “they aren’t doing anything wrong.”
  • That free-market economics is synonymous with pr0-corporate economics, and that what we have right now is the former.
  • Education will get them a job. Because, you know, all that school earned it for them.

And you know, for a good majority, they won’t ever encounter any serious problems resulting from an extra speeding ticket. Sure, they’ll be out a couple hundred bucks, but that’s no big deal. And when their children go to school, they can expect that they’ll be held to the same standards as all the other kids.

And they can be safe knowing that the police are free to do their jobs, enforcing the laws that keep them safe, without interference from the unwashed masses and the rabble-rousers:

In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states, it is now illegal to record any on-duty police officer.

Even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.

The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.

And good for them – they get a clean, standardized, safe America where:

  • They are forking up unnecessary speeding tickets to generate revenue to pay for unnecessary enforcement of silly ordinances and vice laws. And pensions for people that still work in the public sector.
  • Their kids are being drilled to only do rote memorization instead of learning critical thinking skills, turning them into vapid robots.
  • The police can act with impunity because civil rights only get in the way of law enforcement.

For that, America, fuck you.

Yours truly,

The idealist


Did I not get the memo?

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Gulf of Mexico oil slick: Sarah Palin fuels anti-British sentiment – Telegraph.

Apparently we’re still fighting off the Brits.  Or something. Maybe we’re trying to get the crown out of Canada (for their own sake)? Beats me.

Also, this sort of rabble-rabble seems to be early promotional material for her 2012 run at the GOP candidacy. Which ought to be spectacular failure. Why is still still relevant in US politics? If it’s the tea party, then they’re losing points fast. I can’t imagine that this is the sort of isolationist foreign policy that they want to see out of a candidate. Somehow I thought we were past that -grown up, if you will.

Consider these points:

  • US companies have caused such disasters in the past, often in foreign countries.
  • Multinational companies such as BP might as well be American – they are traded on the US stock market and are more embedded into our economy than simply being importers of fine petroleum products.
  • Todd Palin worked for BP until last year.
  • BP is working on cleaning it up. But this isn’t just you’re run of the mill tanker leak. It’s also not a park full of litter. You can’t just “go and clean it up.” It’s more like an engineering problem.
  • BP’s stock is probably a good buy right now.

Struggling just makes it worse – the nature of rape

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Unlike Rob over at To the People, I think this is great:

PALMDALE, Calif. — Schoolteacher Shana Richey misses the playroom she decorated with Glamour Girl decals for her daughters. Fireman Jay Fernandez misses the custom putting green he installed in his backyard.

But ever since they quit paying their mortgages and walked away from their homes, they’ve discovered that giving up on the American dream has its benefits.

Both now live on the 3100 block of Club Rancho Drive in Palmdale, where a terrible housing market lets them rent luxurious homes — one with a pool for the kids, the other with a golf-course view — for a fraction of their former monthly payments.

Rob hates them for exploiting the situation.

But let us look at this from a practical angle. What does failure teach us? Not to fuck up again, hopefully. A single failure might not deture a person, and will certainly not deture millions of people. What it takes to teach millions of people a lesson by forcing them to suffer through a hopeless, downward spiral together and force them to realize it while its happening. Horror makes you scream and fight back. Terror paralyzes you and the mind reels in horror while the body is unable to move.

And what better way to teach people that government subsidies, welfare and bailouts are bad policy? There isn’t. That’s why the best solution is to encourage it. We should all suck on the teat as hard as we can, bleed it dry, watch it turn to dust and cheer on the collapse of a flawed system.

Then social selection can resume its role of culling the herd. Policies that prevent failure fosters a culture that believes, deep down believes, that everyone can be a winner. Hell, its part of the reason for the horrible status of the American education system. And it will only get worse. The bailouts that essentially resulted in millions of US bonds simply evaporating is another example.

The simple truth is that not everyone can be a winner in a world where resources are finite. Attempting to break this rule through clever market regulation can only result in an even more catastrophic failure than could naturally take place.

Some are leaving behind their homes and mortgages right away, while others are simply halting payments until the bank kicks them out. That’s freeing up cash to use in other ways.

Ms. Richey’s family of five used some of the money to buy season tickets to Disneyland, and plans to take a Carnival cruise to Mexico in March. Mr. Fernandez takes his girlfriend out to dinner more frequently. “We’re saving lots of money,” Ms. Richey says.

Who is the chump? The guy accepting the free shit other people are willing to give him and and not thinking twice about it, or the guy who is handing it over?  Both are.  They’ve been duped by a shitty system.  Both groups will most likely suffer greatly for it.  One, immediately because he’s being forced to give and the other because he’s becoming complacent.  Self-sufficiency and independence will never lead to these ends.

I’m not a gun-toting TDTSHTF (The Day The Shit Hits The Fan) survivalist guy and I don’t expect the collapse to happen any time soon. But I’d like it to. Then again, I have very little to lose under such circumstances, and much to gain.  I am a poorly paid non-profit worker, after all.

And with that, I’ve been inspired to write a zany short story. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get high and eat 39 cent macaroni and cheese because I’m crawling my way out of a pile of debt I got myself before I had even heard the terms ‘free market’ or ‘libertarianism.’  Tootles!